Why human beings have two ears but only one tongue?

Henning Mankell in Bethlehem | Source: wikimedia

Henning Mankell in Bethlehem | Source: wikimedia

In honor of Henning Mankell, who passed away this Monday (October 5th) aged 67, we reproduce the introduction of an article he published in the New York Times about his experience in Mozambique.

“I CAME to Africa with one purpose: I wanted to see the world outside the perspective of European egocentricity. I could have chosen Asia or South America. I ended up in Africa because the plane ticket there was cheapest

I came and I stayed. For nearly 25 years I’ve lived off and on in Mozambique. Time has passed, and I’m no longer young; in fact, I’m approaching old age. But my motive for living this straddled existence, with one foot in African sand and the other in European snow, in the melancholy region of Norrland in Sweden where I grew up, has to do with wanting to see clearly, to understand.

The simplest way to explain what I’ve learned from my life in Africa is through a parable about why human beings have two ears but only one tongue. Why is this? Probably so that we have to listen twice as much as we speak (…)”

Continue reading: The Art of Listening

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